Last week in my blog Caged Words I mentioned my new venture into writing occasional articles for the Citizen. I am delighted to report that it was published last Wednesday (April 3).
Typically, it was basically about Gloucester’s pubs and specifically the positive impact of the recent CAMRA beer festival.
The trouble with this new venture is that when I get an interesting thought relating to Gloucester, whereas I would normally turn it into a blog, I am now looking to turn it into an article for the Citizen. Of course, this leaves many other topics for my blog, but it seems a shame not to continue my Gloucester theme as, after all, that is what I originally set the blog up to do.
I’m not sure what the etiquette is for blogging articles that have been in the paper, but since it has now been printed I figure what’s the harm – if you missed it in the paper you can read it here. If you saw it in the paper, then ignore this blog.
So here it is, as seen in the Citizen, with one notable exception: despite the fact that I provided a perfectly good photograph of the beer festival (taken by Paul Roderigues), the Citizen chose to print a picture of my gurning face instead. I rectify the situation here.
I am a great supporter of Gloucester’s pubs. We have a wide and varied selection offering something for everyone. Whether you are looking for a quiet traditional pub, somewhere to see live music, or somewhere loud and lively to let your hair down before going on to a club, there is a pub for you.
It depresses me when I wander into town in the evening and find far too many of these fine establishments looking far too quiet.
I was very pleased, therefore, with the success of the first Gloucester CAMRA Beer Festival, which took place in the magnificent setting of Blackfriar’s Priory over the weekend of 22-23 March.
I admit that initially I was sceptical, fearing that it would serve only to drive trade out of the pubs for the weekend. What it actually did, however, was drive a lot of people into the centre, many of whom spilled out of the beer festival and into the nearby pubs, which were publicised in the festival brochure.
Many of these people came from outside of Gloucester. Many others were Gloucester people who don’t normally drink in town. Hopefully the beer festival will have given them the opportunity to see what Gloucester’s pubs have to offer and they will be back.
It was obvious that not all attendees were typical CAMRA real-ale drinkers. This is what CAMRA should be about: not preaching to the converted, but introducing new people to the joy of drinking real ale and, by association, the pubs that sell it.
The beer festival was not without its teething problems. Being the first of its kind in the city it was impossible to imagine how successful it would be: it was greatly over-subscribed with more than 2000 people reportedly attending over the two days, leading to supply problems. It was impressive to see the team of volunteers pull together to overcome all obstacles and (mostly) keep the beer flowing – my hat is off to them all.
Hopefully the beer festival will have gone some way to improving the night life of the city centre: I am already looking forward to next year’s event.